Uggggghhhhhh, these episodes. Uuuugggggggghhhhhhhhhh.

Let's start with a pair of episodes that ask you to care about two things that are impossible to care about: Shibuya's family problems, and the minutiae of, like, Episode Zero of Ghost.

Shibuya's got problems with his mom (who exists) because of his dad (who doesn't exist, he's dead, ALL DADS ARE DEAD, Jesus what is it with these writers, is everyone in Japan an orphan, what the hell even happened to Makoto and Kanon's family, do they even have any, we never hear about them, they're just always at the temple, were they born orphans or something). Specifically, his mom wants him to be an ass-kicker like his dad? And she's upset that he's not beating up vandals like the man she fell in love with? It is all incredibly strange and a Freud Eyecon seems like a better fit for this episode than Tutankhamun. It all made me very uncomfortable. Mostly, though, I just did not care about anything regarding Shibuya. It felt like the definition of filler.

Or, maybe the other plot was the definition of filler? Why was Professor Igarashi back? I thought he'd been killed, but maybe not? Either way, he's out of the hospital (it's super cool that this fount of information was just laying around for the past few weeks without anyone who could've used this information visiting him) and ready to fill us in on the backstory of the first activation of the Monolith! Except, it's all information we already know. Saionji betrayed them, and trapped Makoto and Kanon in the Ganma World. Igarashi went on the run. That's it! He contributes nothing of value. Why even bring him back?!

These two episodes were a massive letdown after a string of really solid stories, but maybe it's a bump in the road?

Oh my God, talk about a zero-stakes, filler episode. I'd've rather they just skipped this episode and told us in the Previously On for Episode 34 that Takeru got a new (very cool!) suit. Every actor tries their best in this episode, and there's an element of the Let's All Believe In Takeru resurrection that did move me a bit thanks to a fondness for characters like Akari (who's really winning me over), Alain, and Makoto. But, COME ON. No one really believed for even a second that Takeru was dead, so all of that acting was just running down the clock until he inevitably returned, more powerful than ever. I cannot believe that, when faced with needing to give Takeru an upgrade, the writers actually chose to do a one-episode death and resurrection. Mind-bogglingly misguided.

Okay, there's a whole two-parter that sees the (boring) Ganmeisers (I'm watching the OverTime subs, which use 'Ganma' for everything, but I'm seeing mostly 'Gamma' on the Wiki, so correct me if I'm always getting it wrong) launch another assault on the gang, Akari try and help her favorite professor, Onari and Alain get into a funny prank war, it's all intermittently interesting but still sort-of dull, WHATEVER. All of that pales in comparison to my need to talk about Makoto's dream world.

Why, whywhy is his perfect world his sister, in a variety of outfits, endlessly saying his name?! All of the weird subtext of Makoto feeling the need to protect his sister is now SUPER CREEPY TEXT. Is... is this... wait, didn't he spend the first quarter of this series keeping her in his pocket?!